When Does My Credit Card’s Global Entry or TSA PreCheck Credit Expire?

Aug 21, 2017

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“Reader Questions” are answered twice a week — Mondays and Fridays — by TPG Editor-in-Chief Zach Honig.

The last thing you want to do after sitting through a long-haul international flight is to queue up at US immigration, only to wait in a never-ending line to get through security screening before your connecting domestic flight. Fortunately, there’s a solution that can drastically improve your experience on both fronts — and if you play your cards right, it won’t cost you a penny.

This solution is called Global Entry, and the application fee can be covered entirely with a handful of premium credit cards. The terms for reimbursement can be a bit confusing, though, which led TPG reader Colin to reach out for clarification via Facebook

I recently got approved for the Amex Platinum and I currently have TSA PreCheck for another two years. Can the TSA credit from the Amex Platinum sit there for the next two years before I use it?

TPG Reader Colin

As I mentioned, certain credit cards offer a statement credit when you use the card to pay the application fee for either Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. While both programs get you access to PreCheck lanes (with expedited/lighter screening at select checkpoints in the US), I always recommend signing up for Global Entry, which also gets you through US immigration much more quickly — we’re talking a minute or two, in some cases, even when there’s an hours-long wait in the regular US citizen queue.

Application fee credits are available with the following cards:

  • Platinum Card from American Express (once every 4 years)
  • The Business Platinum Card from American Express (once every 4 years)
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve (once every 4 years)
  • Citi Prestige (once every 5 years)
  • Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard (once every 5 years)
  • U.S. Bank FlexPerks Gold American Express Card (once every 5 years)
  • Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card (once every 4 years)

Fortunately these credits don’t “expire” in the tradition sense. However, according to a Citi Prestige rep I spoke with, the clock for a new credit to be available doesn’t start running until you’ve paid the application fee. Since that particular card offers one credit every five years, if I charge a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee to the card in 2017, it’ll become available again in 2022. That makes sense, given that Global Entry membership needs to be renewed every five years, but if you plan to initiate your renewal sooner (which you’re welcome to do), you may want to use a card that issues the credit every four years, instead.

Now, Colin, since you signed up for PreCheck and you don’t need to renew for another two years, you can consider applying for Global Entry now. You’ll have a $100 credit available sooner, plus you’ll end up with access to expedited immigration lanes (and PreCheck security screening as well) for a full five years. You can’t convert your PreCheck membership, so you’ll need to go through another online application process and go in for an interview, but if you travel often it can certainly be worth the effort.

You could also gift your credit to a friend or family member by paying their application fee with your eligible card, but either way you’re at no risk of having your credit expiring — you just likely won’t have it reset as soon as you might like.

Thanks for the question, and if you’re a TPG reader who’d like us to answer a question of your own, tweet us at @thepointsguy, message us on Facebook or email us at info@thepointsguy.com.

Featured image courtesy of US Customs and Border Protection.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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